Buyer's Agent?

Asked by Jason Newell, 98446 Sun Jan 29, 2012

We are first time home buyer's looking for a home. I've been doing a lot of research and one thing that was given as advice was to get a buyer's agent so that you have someone looking out for your best interests. I was under the impression that you pay the agent yourself. Doing some research, it seems like the agent actually splits the commission with the seller's agent. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of having a buyer's agent? How can I expect an agent to be looking out for MY best interests if their pay is based on a percentage of the price of the home? How can I expect them to negotiate the best price for me? Is there different types of buyer's agents or something I am missing?

Thanks for your help.

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16
edfinlan, Agent, Burlington, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
BEST ANSWER
Even thought the commission is paid by the seller and then split between the listing agent and buyers agent, ethic dictate that the buyers agent look out for your best interest. The buyers agent also has a fiduciary relationship with buyers so is accountable to them for their money.
Having the listing agent be a dual agent is legal in this state but I am not sure you get the best representation, not to say that the listing agent would not represent you to the best of their ability, just that as the only agent involved, it is tough for them to negotiate with themselves.
Web Reference:  http://edfinlan.com
1 vote
Jirius Isaac, Agent, Kenmore, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Jason,

I really liked what Kary had to say to you. Yes, we do have a fiduciary duty to do what is in your best interest & most of us take that seriously. However, what if an agent had not had a check in 3 months & their best advice to you is that you should not buy the house or that it is just too expensive? That could be difficult for them if it means not paying their mortgage. That is the potential problem with commission sales. No sale- no commission. I do a lot of fee for service work & would be happy to go over it with you. And, yes, you should interview several of us before you decide. The main question you want to ask us is:

Why should I work with you as opposed to any other agent??

Along with being a real estate broker for 15 years, I am also a loan originator & can pre-approve you for a loan as well if you like.. I hope to hear from you soon.

Jirius George Isaac
1 vote
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
You can compensate your agent on any terms you wish. The commission you mention is just what the seller is offering to contribute toward what is paid to your agent. But you could reach a deal with your agent to pay them a flat fee, hourly, contingent or not on your actually buying something, etc.

That said, I don't see the conflict you mention as being as great was what you think it is. An agent isn't going to be that concerned about whether you're going to pay $250,000 or $275,000 for a property. In that regard, sellers will often come back on an offer asking that the commission be based on the price net of any seller financing concessions asked for in the offer. I've never seen an agent even show the least bit of hesitancy to agree to that.

If you're really concerned about that, you can investigate the financial dealings of your agent in the public records, looking for lawsuits, judgments, foreclosures, tax liens, etc., because I could see being in financial distress might affect an agent's behavior. If they really need a sale, they might get you into something you should not be in at all on any terms. That's more likely than them getting you to pay too much.
1 vote
Allison Fish…, Agent, Ann Arbor, MI
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Hi Jason!

I am glad you got the answer you were looking for. A Buyer's Agent should always work in your best interest, because it isn't just your sale they are earning a living on. They need to do the very best job they can for you, in hopes that you know them, like them and trust them and eventually refer others to them because of the wonderful service they provided for you. Best of luck to you and please see my blog for information on choosing the right agent!
0 votes
The Robert S…, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Jason,
The best way to know that your buyers agent is working for you is to ask for a referral from a friend or famliy member that knows a good agent.
Good luck,
Robert
0 votes
Jason Newell, Home Buyer, 98446
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Wow, thanks to everyone for their fast response! My reservations have been squashed. We will definitely be doing some interviews. Thanks again.
0 votes
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
HLR wrote: "I would say, not to use a buyer's agent from the same office as the seller's agent, they tend to work more for the seller, get a true independent buyer's agent by using just that one from other than one where the seller's agent is in the same office . . ."

I think what HLR is saying is don't find your buyer's agent by asking the listing agent for a referral. I would agree with that. I don't think it matters whether they are with the same office or not. Do your own research on agents, don't just go somewhere someone else says to go, especially when that person is not on your side.
0 votes
Alex Foraker, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Good question Jason, buyers agent commissions are generally pre determined percentages in the listing contract and paid by the seller. Buyers agents are important in todays market to protect your best interest both legally and financially, with the distressed and bank owned properties you can end up with a pretty substantial cost either associated with a property in need of repairs or finding the best value.
I handle each of my clients transactions as if it were my own and offer a free 1 yr home warranty with purchase covering plumbing, electrical, heating and appliances to give you a sense of security with your new home. In addition to working with great lenders, inspectors, title and escrow to ensure your home purchase is the best experience possible. I invite you to contact me with any questions as I'm happy to help! Feel free to start your search on my website referenced below. I have links for Puyallup and surrounding areas by price, foreclosure, property type and a lot more.
0 votes
Brian Solins…, Agent, Federal Way, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
It depends on how you structure things with your agent. When you agree to use a buyer's agent you can set up a contract that will benefit both you and the buyer's agent to make it a win-win situation. I would recommend interviewing a few different agents to see who would be the best fit to work with you. I am certainly available to be interviewed for the position of buyer's agent for you. Give me a call 253-278-7857. If nothing else, I can provide a great deal of information for you as a first time home buyer, whether we decide to work together or not.
Web Reference:  http://www.SolinskyTeam.com
0 votes
HECTOR RIOS, Agent, PUYALLUP, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Well, having a realtor is the best way to buy a house. You'll have to pick a realtor that you can trust, and in the end, nobody can pick the house that you want to buy...only you. A Realtor will be doing the offer, check for all the legal documents you need, offer, negotiating, review tittle docs, inspection, etc. A good realtor will be working with you closly and earn your trust to help you look for your best deal because they want you to be happy. Good luck in finding your new home. If you have any questions or need to be represented don't hesitate to call me.

Hector Rios
Broker,REALTOR, S.T.A.R / Bilingual Consultant
Windermere (253) 777-2401
hector@hrimagine.com
Web:http://www.hrimagine.com
or facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/HectorRios.REALTOR
Web Reference:  http://www.hrimagine.com
0 votes
Steve Vennem…, Agent, Pine Springs, MN
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Get a buyers agent they are free and do a lot of work and you will get free advice from a knowledgable Broker..
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Hi Jason,

In Real Estate we are licensed professionals and we have a feduciary responsibility to represent and protect our clients. Our business is based upon referrals from satisfied clients who would not only use our services again, but recommend us to their friends and family.
It would not benefit a Realtor to be a party to that type of unethical practice and anyone who does business that way, won't be in business for very long.
It is possible for you to pay the commission to your buyer agent and I think it's a good practice. In the Buyer Broker agreement there is a section that specifies payment to your agent. It's one of the ways your agent can be paid, as well as to split the commission with the listing agent.
Do interview severaly full time agents before you make the decision on who to work with. Trust is very important in this type of transaction.
0 votes
Steve Vennem…, Agent, Pine Springs, MN
Sun Jan 29, 2012
buyers agents should be free they are paid by the seller/owner of the home you buy
0 votes
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Just to clarify something Ed said, if you work through the listing agent, that will not most likely create a dual agency situation. You will more likely be simply an unrepresented buyer.

That said, the agent will still owe you some limited duties, such as dealing honestly and in good faith under RCW 18.86.030.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=18.86.030
0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Give me a call if you need anything. Our real estate office is in Fife but our main office is in downtown puyallup where I am most of the time. I would be happy to help you and I can do things like tell you how much the sellers paid for the property which will help you make a smart offer. Hope to hear from you.

Alain Picard
Office Manager
Better Properties Fife
253-861-7386
0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sun Jan 29, 2012
Having a buyers agent will most likely benefit you. They usually do split the commission so there isn't any cost to you for them to show you properties and they will try to get you the best deal. This business is based on referrals and your buyers agent will want you to feel satisfied.
0 votes
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